Pay for plastic

PEOPLE must pay for plastic bags if the state government ban is to be effective, says Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt.

The McGowan government has committed to ban lightweight single-use plastic bags, which are usually less than 35 micrometers thick, from July.

But Dr Pettitt wants people to pay for plastic bags and the ban to include bags up to 60 micrometers thick, otherwise he says lightweight bags will just be replaced with slightly thicker ones.

“We are very supportive of the statewide ban, but I think there’s a good opportunity for WA to learn from other states and what hasn’t worked as well as it should have,” Dr Pettitt says.

• Cr Rachel Pemberton with a vintage plastic bag she found in the shallows at South Beach.

“We have asked to tweak the recommendation: WA can have the most robust ban in the county.

“Looking at some examples from the UK and others show that even a small price on plastic bags is a discouragement, just making sure there are none for free.”

Councillors will debate the ban at the next full council meeting, before submitting any proposed changes to the state government.

Western Australians used approximately 360 million lightweight plastic bags in 2017, with an estimated five million ending up as litter.

The ban will also include biodegradable plastic bags because they do not readily break down in the environment or in domestic composting units – they require a commercial composting facility in order to fully decompose.


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